FIFA 99 is a video game released on November 20, 1998 on PlayStation , Windows and Nintendo 64 . The game was developed by Software Creations and published by EA Sports .
FIFA 99 Gaming System
There are clubs in the first divisions of 12 national championships: German, English, Belgian, Brazilian, Scottish, Spanish, American, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese and Swedish. These are the first appearances of the Belgian and Portuguese championships. 50 clubs from other European championships are also appearing.
There are also about forty national teams – far fewer than the number in Fifa 98 . The game modes are traditional Season and Cup modes, Training, Friendly Match, Goal in Gold and the “European Super Trophy”, a closed championship between twenty of the most prestigious clubs.
Compared to FIFA 98: On the way to the World Cup , the game gains in fluidity and the reactivity of the gameplay is improved. Graphically, this opus sees the appearance of facial animations for the players and the latter no longer all the same size. As for the modes of play, the futsal mode disappears and one finds the possibility to create its own cuts and leagues 1 .
In a nutshell, FIFA 99 is a fabulous addition to a brand which keeps on getting better and better. Cutting right to the chase, it’s much smoother than World Cup ’98 – all those quick turns and shots which seemed to take forever happen instantly now, providing players with a new found confidence to build some stunning moves at whatever pace they feel comfortable with. Phew! Now that we’ve mopped the sweat from our furrowed brows and put our worst nightmare to bed – the one where all the new CGI front- end and full season options look wonderful, but the players huff and puff through another lethargy-laden treacle, the business of a full season mode, customization leagues and cups, transfer deals and rumbling controllers can be discussed without talk of the dreaded ‘lag’.
For the curious, EA has developed a system where simple passes, sprints, hurdles and through-passes happen instantly if the corresponding button is already held down before the ball arrives to the player in question. Quick taps, full presses, double taps and keeping the facia buttons down for a length of time provide a bountiful array of new and familiar moves.
This worked to a limited extent in the last game, but the new results are quite staggering. It seems impossible at first, but within a short period of time step-over nutmegs, laterals, lassiter flick overs and rainbow kicks not only provide thrills and spills for anyone watching, but genuinely make the difference to an experienced player who needs a moments inspiration to jink past tenacious defences.
The World Cup has been and gone for FIFA 99, leaving the full domestic season and a host of leagues and cups to tussle over. In the Full Season mode, there are over 200 Club teams – kitte dout in the latest strips – with 12 domestic Leagues can be chosen. If you’d prefer to re-live England’s glorious exit at the hands of those cheating Argies, 24 International squads have been fittingly left in, too.
The angle this time around is primarily on customisation. Cups, leagues, player hair styles and the return of the In Game Management (IGM) means that your options are almost limitless.
There’s even a basic Transfer option, whereby each club is allocated a set amount of cash. There’s no bidding or counter-bidding involved, you simply highlight the player you want to buy and hey presto, he becomes a fully-fledged member of your squad.
It’s far too simplistic to be tarred with the same brush as Champ Manager – you can effectively create your own dream team without breaking into a sweat, but at least it’s in there.
FIFA 99 is a real crowd pleaser – the AI of players is markedly better (especially the goalies) and their animations slick and varied. Not quite as smooth graphically as Actua Soccer 3, but it plays supremely well and that, sports fans, is what matters most. Which is the best? There’s nothing between the two really – they’re both champs, but FIFA’s got thumping music courtesy of Fat boy Slim… which can’t be a bad thing.
The hardcore contingent often criticizes EA Sports for packaging more glitter than substance in its sports games, but even the harshest critics consider the FIFA series a benchmark of excellence in sports gaming. FIFA 99 is the latest in the line and, while there are nits to pick here and there, it is another example of what a good sports game should be.
You might as well use your cut and paste function when describing the sights and sounds of any EA Sports game: they’re great, the standard to which others are compared. The commentary is relevant, accurate and timely. The crowd chants, cheers great plays and goals and proclaims its anger at the referee. The player animations look better than ever, textures are more detailed and weather effects look believable. One area of controversy and debate is the graphic portrayal of the stadiums, which have been made more generic-looking due to time constraints. Some stadium interiors look nothing like the displayed picture during selection.
A more significant limitation is the restriction to 640×480 resolution, regardless of the video card used (Glide and Direct3D acceleration are supported). As well done as the graphics are, there is no satisfactory view that allows the player to see a wide enough segment of the field to prevent the need for blind passing. The only wide screen option is a somewhat top-down view that loses much of the graphic excellence of FIFA 99; a higher resolution view that shows more of the field is needed.
Once on the field, the game plays well. FIFA 99 offers league play in twelve leagues, the ability to create a custom league, championships and a European “Dream League.” The opponent artificial intelligence in the FIFA series has always been among the best in the business, with improvements made in each incarnation. World Cup 98 introduced excellent goalie AI; FIFA 99 bumps up the positioning and overall play, but nothing really revolutionary. While the view system often forces you to make blind passes, the computer play is good enough that your teammates are usually where you expect them to be. A seemingly minor improvement is in how the players control the ball near the sidelines. In most soccer games, a player rushing to a ball near the line will invariably kick it out of bounds upon contact. FIFA 99 allows players to take control of the ball without forcing it out, a touch that seems minor but which has a significant effect upon game play.
Whether playing Arsenal through a season in the English league or France in an International Cup, the game provides a good level of excitement and replayability, and should be worth your time.
FIFA 99 SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
- Pentium 166 Mhz, Processor
- 32 MB RAM,
- Win 95/98
- CD Rom
- Floppy disk